PHARMA: Does Lipitor cause memory loss?

While I was (very worthily) working out at the gym last night I noticed that November’s Smart Money had an article on Lipitor. Given that Lipitor is the single biggest product in health care, currently at $8 billion in revenue, it caught my eye. So I stuck in the reading tray on the elyptical trainer and read away as I elypted. The article (not available on-line) basically said that in a number of cases Lipitor has caused extreme muscle pain and (more devastatingly) alzheimers’ type memory loss in several patients. The article suggested that high doses (above 20mg of Lipitor) actually have the equivalent of 40mg of Zocor, one of its major rivals, yet Zocor can also be obtained in much lower doses (5mg and 10mg) which have virtually the same effect in lowering cholesterol.  Why doesn’t Pfiizer make Lipitor in lower doses?  Bob Erlich, now an industry consultant  running DTCPerspectives Magazine but the guy responsible for Lipitor’s launch at Parke-Davis is quoted as saying essentially (I’m paraphrasing here) that one dose made it easier for the physicians to prescribe as they didn’t have to bother matching patient and dosage.

The article goes on to suggest that independent (i.e. non-pharma funded researchers) have established the high dose to muscle pain link and that the memory loss issue is well known. Behind this is a strong hint that Pfizer is too big to fight either in the dissemination of the message to doctors, or in the law courts–apparently no lawyer will sue until the FDA has withdrawn the drug from the market.  Pfizer for its part acknowledges that the muscle pain is a recognized side effect, but claims that the memory loss–which the article focuses on as it’s pretty devastating–has nothing to do with Lipitor. However, everyone remembers that another statin Baycol was on the market until it was found that in a few cases it caused severe liver damage and was recalled.

It doesn’t take long googling to find several dissatisfied Lipitor users with intense muscle pain and others with transient or long-term memory loss. Unfortunately the Smart Money article doesn’t give any denominators, so there’s no real evidence other than these anecdotal stories about whether significant numbers of people have had these reactions to Lipitor.  So despite the heart-rending stories, you can’t draw any conclusions. Also don’t forget that in the grander scheme of things (if you believe the conventional wisdom that lower cholesterol reduces heart disease), Lipitor is saving thousands of lives for each one it hurts–if it does hurt. This argument is played out in this article on theheart.org (long registration process required.)

From a business perspective what’s important here is the perception of risk.  If statins work for millions and millions of people but a few people allegedly suffer from its side-effects, that’s really the same story that existed for Baycol.  The FDA has been criticized for allowing too many drugs on the market that have to be withdrawn.  Almost always the reason for the withdrawal is a nasty side-effect (e.g. death!) for a very small minority of patients. For Pfizer and its $8 billion drug, there is a very low but existing risk that this could be the end result for Lipitor. Pfizer’s stock has been off slightly in recent months on fears that some patent lawsuits might hurt Lipitor and Zoloft.  Of course that’s nothing to what would happen if Lipitor had to be withdrawn, so watch this wildcard.

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51 replies »

  1. Thought I was going goofy. Couldn’t remember names, words, procedures, etc. Correlation of begining Lipitor and begining memory problems was too coincidental. Also issues with joint stiffness and overall lethargy. Going off Lipitor now and will become my own health monitor.

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  3. After my hysterectomy my cholestrol levels went high,along with other things. I went to a Cardiologist on my own,he put me on Crestor (6yrs. ago) and I have had no problems at all-except the cost!!Generic will be out in about 6 yrs. I tried Zocor & Lipator before Crestor-too many aches & pains.

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  5. When I look at the side effects for Lipitor on the official site, I see nothing on memory loss. How is this possible??

  6. Be extremely cautious taking Lipitor-only take it if absolutely nothing else works–diet,exercise-other meds etc.
    Kathleen Green R.N. B.S.

  7. I am so glad that I stumbled on this site. I switched from SIMCOR to LIPITOR as I was feeling lethargic and suffering some muscle pain with SIMCOR. I have been taking LIPITOR for just 2 weeks but I noticed a significant memory issue almost immediately. I have been learning a new language and doing very well until the past 2 weeks. Now I have come to a grinding halt and in fact have relapsed. I can’t remember nearly as many words as I did a month ago. I also find myself embarrassed when I can’t quickly remember my own phone number. I took my last LIPITOR yesterday. I would rather deal with the “potential” heart disease/stroke down the road and have a quality life in the meantime. I have a healthy diet and strenuous exercise routine daily so I will take the NIACIN ER and hope for the best.

  8. You people are doing a disservice to everyone on here.
    Yes, Lipitor can be associated with muscle aches. That’s something you and your doctor should be monitoring. If it’s a problem, you can lower the dose or try alternative medicine. With any drug you need to weigh the benefit versus the risk.
    If you have high cholesterol, Lipitor has a much, much greater chance of preventing heart attack and death, than it does of causing you any lasting harm.
    I have not seen any literature on Lipitor causing memory problems. Don’t listen to the yahoos on this site. Get your own information. Google pubmed which will get you published medical literature on the topic.
    There are millions of people on Lipitor. Some will have memory loss. Does that prove a cause and effect relationship? No. That’s why they do placebo controlled randomized studies. It’s call science. Embrace it. It’s 2009.

  9. ive been on lipitor far 1 year. ive noticed some congitive decline…………word salad or lost far words. anyone had the same please let me know

  10. I have been taking lipitor for nearly 2 months been putting it off for years as I did take it at one time years ago, but quit back then and can’t remember why.I was talking at a gathering the other day and totally lost all track of what I was saying , which never happens to me , in just 2 months , also I do a word game and have been beating myself up over the fact I knew the words ,and couldn”t remember them ,this is just 2 months , now I am worried, my colestrol is 325 so I am scared that way too, but it’s been that way for years I am 65 …what do I do ??? Yvonne B

  11. My husband has been on Lipitor since March 2006, when he had 5 stents implanted. He started with a dosage of 20mg and increased to 40mg. six months later, his total cholestrol is now at 124, however he has had a decline in short term memory, and he has also complained of not being as strong as in the past, he’s 70 (and still works full time)grudgingly put this down to normal aging as did his primary care Dr. (although these symptoms manifested themselves after he started with the Lipitor). After what I have been reading and discussing it together (but not with his Cardio guy who swears by statins especially Lipitor)he is going to decrease his dosage to 20mg and see what happens, but will add Cholest-off (OTC niacin product).


  13. Correction to the spelling of my natural cholesterol tablet: should be Policosanol. Interesting reading in the “Natural alternative to statins”

  14. My husband is 56 and has been on Zocor since having a stent inserted approximately 5 yrs ago. For the past 6-12 mths I have noticed his memory has been deteriorating, he’s also had muscle and joint pains for several months. We asked the Dr yesterday about it and he said to come off Zocor for a month and monitor it. We have done this. I am on a natural tablet by Blackmores called “Polioconasol” which is made from sugar cane wax. My cholesterol was 65 and after 6mths was down to 50. Blackmores is a company in Australia…not sure if available overseas.

  15. My experience with cholesterol medication goes back to the mid-1990s when I was put into the Mevacor trials by my GP. This worked well for a while, but when we moved as my husband retired and I closed my business, my new cardiologist switched me to Lipitor. Doses were elevated over the years, and my heart arteries had to be cleaned out several times; I now live with six stents in my heart. My Lipitor dosage had risen to 240 mg./day over the years.
    This spring I began to notice memory problems (I had always had leg cramps when sleeping until someone told me about taking a potassium pill, 99mg., each night which works like a charm.) My GP sent me off to a clinical psychologist who diagnosed mild Alzheimer’s. Then my GP removed Lipitor from my daily cocktail of prescribed meds, and my memory returned (mostly). I told my local cardiologist about the problem, and also how my cholesterol level is now 228 even though I was prescribed Lovaza (fish oils) and Welchol as substitutes for Lipitor, and raised my Tricor to 145mg., 3 times/day. When I saw my cardiologist, he put me on a low dose of Pravachol — and back came the memory loss. I am off the Pravachol again, but he is considering Crestor once a week to see if that would work.
    My GP referred to the San Diego study as the basis for his changing my medications, but I have not been able to find it on the Internet as yet.
    I am posting this only so others may know that in some cases, cholesterol drugs can be dangerous. I don’t know yet if there is a happy medium somewhere that I can live with and still retain my memory. I need a “Dr. House” to figure this out — so says my husband.

  16. I have been on Lipitor for 10 years. I’m not sure how many milligrams I started out with, but I’m at 40 mg now.
    About 5 years ago I noticed my memory was failing me i.e. searching for the right words, not remembering movies I had seen just a few months ago. A friend told me that she had heard that Lipitor might be responsible for the loss. I decided to test it, and went off it. Within 3 days I was disoriented, dizzy, nauseated. In fact, I was beginning to think I had a brain tumor, when it occurred to me that going off the Lipitor might be producing these symptoms. Sure enough, when I started back on it, the symptoms went away within the hour.
    I made an appointment with my doctor to talk to him about this, but he just poo-poo’d my symptoms away; said I might have just had the flu, and he never heard that Lipitor gave anyone memory problems (huh). Somehow, he talked me out of discontinuing the Lipitor.
    Two years later, I tried out for a part in a play and got a lead part. I have never had a problem with memorization, and have always been able to remember cues and my lines. But this time, lines that I had down pat one night, were gone the next. Eventually it got so bad, I had to give up my part.
    I knew I was in big trouble when I was having a conversation with the director of a different play (I was the stage manager for this one) and I looked right at him and couldn’t remember his name!
    I made the decision to go off the Lipitor, but wean myself off this time. I bought a pill cutter and took a half a pill, and then one every other day, etc. I experienced slight light-headedness for the first three days, and then I was fine. I am off of Lipitor now. I am still experiencing memory problems, but they don’t seem to be as frequent.

  17. After standing in my daughter’s kitchen and having a physical and emotional breakdown, I decided that my sheer exhaustion, and total body weakness had to be a sign of some terrible illness. My son-in-law suggested that I tell my doctor about my symptoms. Fortunately for me, she told me to stop taking the Lipitor for a period of two weeks. By day three I could function without total exhaustion. After 10 days I was amazed. I have always had a lower back problem and neck pain. I do still have tiredness but not to the point of exhaustion. What I discovered was that the Lipitor exaggerated pain. Has anyone experienced terrible itchiness? I wondered if it is a side effect of stopping the drug? Any natural high cholesterol help?

  18. I have been on Zocor 20mg and recently noticed that I began to misspell words but since I am not the best speller I chalked it up as that. Today however, I was in class and spelled understood as unstood. There have also been basic words that I can’t figure out how to spell anymore. I am just beginning my PhD so I need all of my mind functioning so I am done with these pills and hope diet and exercise alone will keep me alive. 26 is too young for these pills and memory loss!!!!!

  19. I decided to go on line and check out memory loss associated with taking Lipitor because of what I have been experiencing. I am absolutely amazed at how many people have the memory loss and joint pain. I am 53 and have been taking Lipitor for 10 years at a dose of 10 mg. I have had memory loss most of these years and now I have the joint pain as many people here have explained, but not to the extent that I can’t function. I have just chalked it up to my age and possibly the menopause years. I remember my daughter getting so frustrated with me when she was in Elementary School and Middle School because I was so forgetful. My doctor said it was just stress from raising a child. My daughter is now off to college and has gotten use to my “forgetfulness”. She has told me lately that she is worried about my “forgetfulness”. This is one of the reasons that I looked on line about Lipitor and memory loss. I thought I had heard something on TV about the correlation of the two. My brother was diagnosed with Alzeihmers at age 60. He has been on a higher dose of Lipitor for years. All of my siblings are on Lipitor but we have never discussed any of this with each other. We all probably think it’s just part of aging. This is so disturbing to think that Lipitor may be the cause of my memory loss. I feel like I lost some good years as my daughter was growing up having been so forgetful so often. High cholesterol runs in our family and both of our parents were on Lipitor and my Dad was told at the age of 89 that he may have had the start of Alzheimers. He passed away at 90 of heart problems that he never really had until nearing the end of his life. I cannot stand the memory loss any further and I feel at times that maybe I am at the beginning stages of Alzheimers. I think it would be a very good idea for me to stop taking Lipitor. I am not sure what to do if my cholesterol goes back up. I know that I have to change my diet. Way back ten years ago my cholesterol was 280 so I changed my diet and excersized (sp?) diligently for 6 months, lost 25 lbs. My doctor was delighted and was very confident that my cholesterol would be back down where it needed to be. But, it had barely changed, so my doctor prescribed Lipitor at 10 mg. which has kept my cholesterol down for ten years. This is going to be interesting if I decide to stop taking Lipitor, but it is worth it if I stop having the memory loss.

  20. I have been taking Lipitor for about 5 years. During this time, my memory has been getting worse, and I have lost strength. I couldn’t get anyone to pay attention, as I was getting older, and I still have decent strength, just not what I was used to A program of exercise was *not* helping. I was taken off Lipitor yesterday because of an elevated CPK reading (I almost didn’t remember why they did the blood test in the first place, it took several minutes of linking thoughts to remember that the problem was unrelated to strength or memory). I started researching Lipitor side effects on the web, and learned that it very well might be causing my memory loss and maybe my strength loss as well. Time will tell.

  21. Have been on Lipitor 10mg. for about 6 years with a few muscle tenderness aches and pains. (thinking it was middle age past the 50 mark now). Last October ’07, my gp was away and another gp taking over for her. Looked at my blood and Cholestrol stats and said that I must go on 40 mg. immediately. Do what the doctor says…right? So, November, I start getting severe left shoulder pain,tingling and pains in elbow and in fingers, severe nausea, hair loss, weight gain, restless leg syndrome and the worst of all, memory loss. I got remarried at Christmas time and it took all my energy with being in severe pain etc, to get through it with a smile on my face. January 08, return to the docs only to be told (after an xray and nothing shows up) to book MRI (waiting list of 1 yr approx. in Canada unless you pay). In the meantime take Naproxen 1500 mg. daily. My memory was failing terribly…cannot finish my sentences, looking for the right words to say, can’t do my puzzles anymore and losing my train of thought also. I return again to doc, now thinks I have a nerve impingement??? Sets me up to see Orthopedic Surgeon, another long wait (Aug 14th.) So, July 1st, I decided to heck with it, go online to research thinking it’s the Lipitor maybe and sure enough! I read about all the other people who are having same symptoms as me….so I quit taking it! Today is the 7th and I can lift for the first time in months, my arm over my head, there is a little pain still but not the excruciating pain that I’ve had up until now. As the above person Diane had said, I too, am testing my own hypothesis! If these pains stop totally and my memory gets back to what it was, I do know that it was the Lipitor for sure! Good luck to all and I hope that Pfizer realizes this before it’s too late!!!!!

  22. My father has been on cetia and lipitor for almost 2 yrs. he has developed restless leg at night, and a shakey arm during the day. Is this a lipitor side effect? he also has momory loss and he thinks something is wrong.

  23. I am 52 years old, have been on Lipitor for several years. My last ck up the Dr. added 10mg crestor. I have been working out at the gym for years. I joined a cardio class about 2 months ago, same time I started adding the crestor. I was getting weaker muscle strength the last year or so along with sorness but contributed it to age. I am so sore and achey now that I can barley make it through an hour cardio class and everything hurts. No get up and go anymore, no motivation. I’m calling my doctor, think I am quitting all statins. I’ll post another blog in a month or two and let you know if I am just old or if the statins are the cause.

  24. Hate repeating what everyone else has said but I, at 74,I had even called the Alzheimer association about what doctor I should see. Had all the symptoms others here listed. I then started cutting my 80mg pills into quarters. After several weeks on the cut-up pills, I just quit. My doctor said that we’ll wait several months to see how my chloresterol is and then discuss it. I asked about the bad effects of stopping the drug (widely written about in the press)and she didn’t seem to know about that-not really too comforting.

  25. It is finally dawning on me that Lipitor might be the cause of my progressive muscle weakness and severe joint stiffness. I am 60 years old and have been taking Lipitor for several years (first 20 mg, then 40 mg, now back to 20 mg/day). I have always been mindful of the importance of exercise and good diet, so I was puzzled when I started noting somewhat dramatic physical changes.
    When I remain stationary for more than 15 minutes, such as while driving or reading, I find it painful to rise and walk. It is hard to stand straight up, and I feel the need to hold onto railings or other supports if I need to go up or down stairs. As a long-time jogger, I suspected this knee instability was the consequence of all those years of running on pavement (a prediction made by my mother when I first started this practice at age 21). In addition to the difficulty walking, I have unexplained pains in my hips and elbows, especially when I lie on my side and put pressure on those points. The memory lapses and confusion might also be explained by aging, but it seems the problems have been compounded over time. My PCP was completely unwilling to accept the connection between these physical changes and Lipitor, but I think I should discontinue taking the drug on my own to test the hypothesis, which seems to be well-founded based on the many testimonials offered here. My fear is that a sudden withdrawal might result in new side effects. If any of you fellow-sufferers can advise me about that, please do. Thanks!

  26. Dear Friend,
    I am a 77 year old senior hooked on lipitor.I cannot tell you the damage it has done to my body !! I thought I was doing the right thing by taking it but now realize I am hooked !! I would give anything if I could go back and refuse it when my doctor said I should take it.
    Some of you people have found a way to get off of it.Please tell me how you did it,I would give anything to stop taking it but I am afraid if I stop I will have to go through withdrawal (and they say that is awful.
    Please help me if you can,I am almost crazy !! Ruby Collier

  27. I’m 51 and have been taking 10 mg. of Lipitor for 12 years along with 500 mg of niacin, [ if you are the type who gets flushes from the niacin take it with a 81mg asprin to combat the flush ].It has worked to keep my cholesterol at about 150.I did not notice any other side effects,but my wife and mother have both told me that I have been fogetting things and that I sometimes repeat myself,you don’t always realize these things yourself till your told , you figure your just getting older.After reading all the stories above,I’m a little concerned.My wife had tried Crestor and another cholesterol drug, both times having bad muscle pain , and had to stop.I’m lucky to have a cardio doctor who believes in low dose meds and also researches natural supplement.I will talk to him about the memory loss.

  28. Have been taking statins for 13 years ( 10mg lipitor) along with 1000 mg niacin. cholesterol stays low and no serious side effects that I am aware of. secret may be to keep the dose low and combined with something else

  29. When I returned from an out of town meeting last weekend my wife told me an alarming story. She was sitting in a chair and found her memory completely gone. She knew that someone was missing but so complete was the loss that she had no memory of me. She wondered whether it might be her father who had gone away (he has been dead for twenty years). Eventually she remembered that she has a husband and that I was out of town. She has no idea how long this memory loss lasted. She had had similar but less dramatic symptoms several times before. She also sometimes begins to do something and forgets what she was doing or saying: sometimes she forgets a word completely. We all do that from time to time but she says that this is somehow different.
    When I returned from my trip she began looking up temporary amnesia and discovered Dr. Graveline’s experiences.
    My wife is on 40 mg of Lipitor a day and has been on the drug for many years.
    Over the past few years she has experienced, in addition to the episodes of memory loss, a marked decrease in muscle strength together with pain in the hands and wrists. The weakness is so severe that she has difficulty regaining an upright posture from a crouching position. At one time she was the stronger of the two of us when it came to opening tight jar lids, now she experiences severe weakness if she applies any pressure.
    It is reassuring to discover that there may be a cause rooted in the drug she is taking. Bringing attention to these possible side effects of Lipitor through the growing volume of anecdotal evidence is the only way to alert physicians to the potential (although my wife and I believe – real) dangers of these medications.

  30. I am the author of Lipitor,Thief of Memory and Statin Drugs Side Effects. All of you who have posted previously on this site, if having any kind of cognitive impairment while on statin, let me assure you that statin causation is highly likely. Muldoon would say 100% if sufficiently sensitive testing is done. Pead my Statin Alternative paper for guidance.
    Because of the effect of statins on glial cell cholesterol production, memory loss is all but guaranteed. Doc

  31. My husband, now 65, has been on Zocor for approximately six years. Two years ago, while in the midst of a great career as a computer programmer, he began to experience loss of focus, confusion and memory loss. Upon deciding to retire, his doctor put him on Aricept and we accepted the diagnosis, as there seemed to be no other explanation. We have lived the life of Alzheimer’s Disease since that day, only to discover this week the reports of statins causing memory loss. As we read the testamonials on the internet, the exact same words were being used to describe what Tom has been experiencing for the past two years. I had felt for some time that he did not fit the pattern of A.D., but he fits completely into this scenario! We are, at the same time, deliriously happy and fiercely angry. It has taught us a huge lesson about taking charge of our own health care by asking questions and more questions. Do not trust the drug companies to keep you safe! And doctors do not seem to know about these dangerous side effects or, if they do, they are too much in the grip of the pharmaceutical industry. If you or a loved one is taking statins, educate yourself! Find out about other ways to control cholesterol. We have been given a new lease on life and our retirement years.

  32. 53 year old healthy in shape female, however genes dictate my cholestrol. Have been on lipitor for over a year. Saw the news about memory and immediately bells went off. I related to the information and many of the stories in this blog. I never had the physical problems and it did lower my cholestrol, but I was slowly becoming a zombee. In just a few weeks I’m starting to become a bit more alert. I found myself looking at words and not knowing them, going up to people and talking to them and not recall talking to them a week prior when they “reminded” me (and to this day still can’t recall). We all forget and misplace things but it is a different type of forget, the house in your head was empty and you have no idea how or where to retrieve the information needed. i would rather die of heart disease tomorrow then loose my mind and live til i’m 80!! My mother had cholestrol over 325 died at 85 because of broken hip and other problems never any heart disease. I work in rehab where many strokes come thru, just as many on this type of medication with “controlled” cholestrol as not. I was big on this lowering bit, not so sure now!

  33. my arm hurts constently i cant lift anything with my right hand or i drop it also my eye sight is going on me and it started when i started lipitor and i’ve been taking it for awhile and i know its beause of the lipitor, also i’m only 43 yrs of age

  34. I’ve been on Lipitor at 40 mgs. for atleast 10 years.
    In the last few years I have noticed that I can’t come up with the correct word in conversations (I used to pride myself on that). Ask me things about a movie I saw six months ago, and I won’t be able to tell you.
    At times lately, I have caught myself starting a
    statement in a conversation, and then I don’t know where
    I wanted to go with it. I’m going to try staying on Zetia, or if I don’t see a difference, I will get off all of them.

  35. I am presently on 20 mg. Lipitor along with Zetia and my cholesterol level has been holding at around 160. At a recent dr. visit, I asked him about recent news coverage on Zetia. He told me to go off Zetia and he increased my Lipitor to 40mg. However, I have not started the increased dosage yet. Now I hear about the memory loss problem with Lipitor. I, too, have been experiencing memory loss (not being able to think of words, and putting thoughts together). I really thought that maybe I was developing early on-set Alzeimers. I now plan to call my Dr. and check this out. Thanks for all the input to know you’re not alone in this possible problem.

  36. I have been on Lipitor for about 6 years. I started on 10mg, my doctor told me I had to go up to 20mg. I was on that for a few years, then last year he put me up to 40mg. I stayed on that for about 3 months, he took a blood test and my cholestarol was down so I asked him to drop me down to 20mg again and he did. About 2 years ago, I began to forget simple words (I am 49 now) and thought this might be the beginning stages of alzheimers. I didn’t tell my doctor because I wanted to watch myself for a while to see if it got worse over time. I don’t think it has but I still forget words all the time. I just found out this week about lipitor and memory loss so I have quit. We’ll see what happens. Yvonne

  37. I am scared. I have been on Lipitor for 10 years. My doseage is now 80mg. I thought my memory loss was caused by memopause. Loss of words,thoughts, how to spell,people names have been increasing.Ask me what happened 2-4 years ago and I can’t tell you. I lose my train of thought all the time. Have found myself driving and not remembering where I am. I am 54 and I guess I am lossing my mind. I’m tired and achy, loss my get up and go. I am stoping Lipitor tonight. I’ll tell my doctor next week. Thank for all your insight. Sue

  38. I have been on Lipitor for several years(5)for high cholesterol and no problems. Now I am having memory lapses as well as extreme joint pain in hands & thumb and hips. I have an appt. to see my Dr. about getting off of Lipitor in light of recent publicity. I kept thinking I might have R.A. but now I realize it must be the Lipitor.

  39. I’ve been on Lipitor for around 6 months.
    I was prescribed this medication as I came in with a high of 16 for my cholesterol, yep 16, and still breathing. The Lipitor had almost immediate effect and my count dropped to around 4 by my next blood test. I’ve had a bit of a diet change and let the doctor know I wanted to stop taking the medication. I’ve been off it now for a week with no side effects at all. I’ve got another blood test in about 5 weeks and will let yall know the results.
    Fingers crossed.

  40. I have been taking Lipitor (20mg) for about three years. I have slight muscle pain from time to time which I have attributed to my age (50) and my lifestyle (climbing poles for phone company) and so on.
    I remember the phone number I had 30 years ago, and never need to double check my SIN (Medicare number I think you would call it in the U.S.) However I have been told that I have forgotten appointments, details of recent events and so on.
    I do feel tingling in my arms from time to time and I can’t relate a traumatic event this condition.
    Does this sound like your situation, or am I complaining about nothing? In your experience does this sound like a drug problem?
    I am not looking for a medical opinion, I just don’t know whether I am getting older, or prematurely sicker because of the medication I am taking.
    Please let me know what you know/have heard.
    Thanks for your help
    Roddy MacLean
    902 626 8660

  41. I have been experiencing memory problems since my first child was born in 2001. It coincides with when my physician changed my dosage of lipitor from 20mg to 40mg. After a year or so, I complained to my doctor that I felt my memory was slipping and I wasn’t as acute as I was before, looking for words, loosing my chain of thoughts. Forgetting simple words. Doing the alphabetic game to remember people’s names. My doctor told me that this was most probably induced by stress and sleep deprivation brought on by the birth of my first child. He made me take a MIR test and said that all was normal.
    So I went with it and blamed stress and all and lived this way for 5 years.
    In an effort to lower the quantity of medication I am taking, I asked my physician to change my lipitor dose back from 40mg to 20mg. It had nothing to do with my memory or anything like that, I just wanted to see by myself if I really need that strong a dosage.
    I stayed at 20mg for 3 months and after a blood test and meeting my doctor, he told me that my chol. was back up and suggested I go back to 40mg, which I did. Funny enough, I did not notice any improvement in my memory during that 3 months but I wasn’t looking for it either.
    It’s been 6 days I’m back at 40mg and I have memory problems again. Thinking back to the last 3 months, I can clearly remember (sigh) that I did not have the kind of memory problems I had described before.
    I’m really scared. What am I going to do?? Lipitor works great for me for my cholesterol level and I have no muscle pain or gastric problems. I’m affraid to try another brand and get another kind of problem.
    Help please,

  42. As with all synthetic drugs there are certain risks involved. My doctor had prescribed lipitor for lowering cholesterol but after the first two weeks I couldn’t remember to take it.

  43. More the same for me. I was on Lipitor for 7 years with no problems, then my doc increased the dosage to 20mg. I didn’t make the association right away, but my short term memory went, I’d lose track of where I was in conversations. I had to use crutches to continue to lead in my company. I went on vacation and forgot my lipitor…and after a week off, my memory was back. Thinking it might be either stress or Lipitor, I did my own 30 day clinical trial. 30 days on and 30 off. It was like flipping a switch. My doc had me try another statin, same thing. Now on Zetia with no impact.

  44. My mother is 78 and has been taking zocor for 18 months. I have noticed her memory and cognitive ability are becoming poor. The doctor took her off zocor and she improved. He put her back on 2 weeks later and I again notice the same memory lapses, can’t find the proper word, etc. What should we do? The doctor says she needs to be on it b/c of previous heart attack and that her memory loss is b/c of aging.

  45. I have been taking Lipitor for about 2+ years. I injured my neck while exercising and because of the muscle stiffness I was feeling I was not aware of the problem until my right arm started to have heat and tingling through to my hand. I was also experiencing memory loss. I went off the Lipitor 3 weeks ago and am now experiencing some pretty bad disorientation, nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision. Has anyone out there experienced the same thing? If so, what did you do?

  46. My 82 year old father has been diagnosed with Congestive heart failure for 5 years. He has been taking Lipator for over 8 years. Since his diagnosis he has had trouble keeping food down, muscle weakness and exhaustion, symptoms contributed to his worn out heart. He was in and out of the hospital all of 2005 and in March of 2006 his liver was shutting down. A nurse told him he was not going to make it out of the hospital. During that hospital visit his new doctor took him off on Lipator. He immediately started feeling better. We are positive the Lipator has been the cause of most of his hospital visits. Its side effects made everyone think my father was dying from a worn out heart.
    My father now feels well enough to travel, he can walk further than 50 feet without having to rest,doesn’t need 3 naps a day, he can eat anything again without fear of indigestion or throwing it back up and he is gaining weight.
    My father visited his heart doctor on October 19, 2006 and the doctor ask was he trying to be 40 years old again,and didn’t need to see him again for a year. After that diagnosis we are now positive his congestive heart failure was all because of Lipator.
    My father’s side effects came on as slowly and as gradually as congestive heart failure would. That mimicking action almost cost us our father. Anyone taking Lipator and suffering the same symptoms might want to talk to their doctor about stopping it.

  47. We really don’t HAVE to lower our cholesterol. We don’t KNOW everything that causes heart disease, but cholesterol lowering is a ploy to part us from our money long BEFORE we suffer coronary infarction.

  48. Retired male age 65. Have taken statins since 1990 when I had an angioplasty. Started with Mevacor, then switched to Zocor when it was released. Through diet, exercize and Zocor reduced cholesterol from 315 in 1990 to 180 in 2004. My Cardiologist retired and I was switched to a younger associate in his clinic who suggested that I switch to Crestor, a new more powerful statin that was producing very good resultsin his patients.This was Nov 2004. 2005 and 2006 have been years of gradual, but significant decline for me. I began to experience loss of muscle strength which I noticed both in the gym and on the farm. I began to experience memory loss and the feeling that my mind was not functioning as well or as quickly as it had. Although I as willing to chalk these changes up to the aging process, my SO commented that she had noticed these changes beginning when I switched to Crestor. It has now been one month since I asked my doctor to move me back to Zocor (where I had experienced none of these symptoms)and Zetia. Although it is too early to tell definitively about the memory loss, I am beginning to see muscle strength return along with a noticable improvement in muscle mass ( confirmed by my SO) …. and am experienceing no short term memory loss. My mental functions seem to be better and clearer, but I have no way of measuring this.
    Since I spent over 30 years of my career in the Pharma industry, I understand better than most the research and marketing processes employed as well as the dosing strategies employed by the industry. I had bought hook line & sinker the full theory of the evils of cholesterol and am now quite angry to learn that this theory is a myth, and to learn that the growing number of case reports on memory loss and decrease in cognitive function associated with statin use is not beineg covered in either the general press or in the medical literature. Both loss of memory and reduction in mental functioning have put extreme pressure on my relationship with the love of my life (my SO) and threaten what should be the best years of my life. I am angry and ready to participate in studies, discussion roups, campaigns, etc to alert others to the dangers and risks of statins and the cholesterol war.

  49. I took Lipitor for 3 1/2 yrs. I have just stopped taking it five days ago. I had muscle cramps to the point walking and then any movement at all was extremely painful, plus the hair loss and the weight gain. Since I stopped taking Lipitor, I feel like I can function and be happy. I was at the point where if I have a stroke I will take my chances.

  50. 27 Lipitor and I had extreme muscle and joint pain. No more for me. I just hope my mind is ok.

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